Advertising strategies to help you win the year

advertising strategies

By Brooke B. Sellas, {grow} Contributing Columnist

The right advertising strategies can make or break your year.

And since we basically have only one quarter left in 2018 (GASP!), how you spend the rest of your budget for this year and prepare your budget for next year is critical.

I’m going to pull the curtain back on the advertising summary and forecast reporting we create for our larger clients.

With these advertising tips in your arsenal, you’ll be ready to go out with a bang … and start with a sizzle!

The Advertising Landscape

First, let’s hope you haven’t been hiding under a rock when it comes to digital advertising.

The current landscape shows no slowing down.

In fact, according to a 2017 CMO report, social media advertising budgets are expected to increase by 32% in 2018, and almost double by 2023.

And even with a slippery first quarter, Facebook’s ad revenues are still up 50%.

facebook-ad-revenues-up

That said, how do you figure out where YOU are with advertising?

Advertising Strategies: Start With The Past

As we’re gearing up to end the year, we like to take a long look back.

Start with your wins.

What worked this year?

For instance, we found with a winery client that while we tested a combination of 9 different audiences, only two proved to be most worthy when it came to conversions.

As a bonus, you’ll learn what didn’t work as well … keep that information handy, too.

In going back to our winery example, we found that 7audiences didn’t work well for conversions. We also found that Facebook’s recommended audiences of those who would “likely interact” with our ads were worthless.

What content performed?

Focus on the top three content types for your best-performing ads.

For our wine client, we found the top performing content to be

  1. Ads showcasing a recipe pairing with a specific wine
  2. Seasonal-specific ads
  3. Promoting top-performing content from the website

Additionally, we found what didn’t work so well. Time after time, ads delivered to Facebook did better than ads delivered to Instagram.

Which campaign was #1?

Look at your all-time best performing campaign. What insights can you glean?

Be sure to look at all of the elements and compare to your other campaigns, such as

  • Copy/test
  • Emoji use
  • Visual (photo(s) or video)
  • Call-to-action
  • Engagement, especially conversation & shares
  • CPC (cost-per-click)

You should start to see trends and patterns emerge as you filter through your data.

Now, take that data and start planning for next year.

Advertising Strategies: Looking Ahead

Looking at what went well — and what didn’t — provides you a nice roadmap for what to do in 2019.

Start with what you know.

Using the wine client as the continued example, we know

  • Facebook converts better than Instagram
  • Google converts well but comps far outspend us
  • Recipe pairings are the golden ticket

This information allows to focus in on these things and possibly leave out or just spend less time with the things that don’t work.

Pinpoint grey areas.

We do a lot of split testing over at B Squared Media (also called A/B testing).

advertising strategies

This kind of testing not only allows us to understand what’s working or not working, but it also allows us to understand what still needs testing.

Believe it or not, split testing is not a “one and done” kind of deal!

As an example, we’ve been split testing calls-to-action for our wine client. While we found that “learn more” and “download” grab their biggest conversions, they’re nearly dead even between the two phrases.

So, we’ll need to continue testing to see if we can discern a clear winner in 2019.

Break the year down into manageable chunks.

Looking ahead, start by focusing on the first three months of the year. Note any holidays in Q1. Document any sales or promotions.

Drill down into any question marks you’re still needing to uncover.

Pick your goals or key performance indicators and plan out quarter by quarter.

Your plan may look something like this …

  • Continue to split test ad format (picture, versus carousel, versus video)
  • Continue holiday-specific ads
  • Work on development of short video ads; split test
  • Develop two more viable audiences for conversion on Facebook (or ….)
  • Grow email list
  • Competitor research
  • Run remarketing campaigns with website visitors against email list

It may also look completely different but you get the idea.

Advertising Strategies For EVERYONE

Perhaps phrases like “split testing” or “remarketing” make your eyes glaze over. Or you may roll your eyes and think, “been there, done that!”

Either way, these basic concepts are critical for advertisers today.

With Facebook moving to pay-to-play (trust me, Instagram is sure to follow) you must start using paid media in tandem with your organic efforts.

Here are 7 advertising tips that any advertiser, new or old, should always be focusing on. Click to Tweet
  1. Find the audience(s) that convert (and the platforms, too)
  2. Know when to run certain ads (seasonal, holiday, etc.)
  3. Split test ALL THE THINGS
  4. Use remarketing
  5. Ensure your ads also help grow your email list
  6. Keep a close eye on competitors
  7. Update keywords often

Whatever you do, get out there and start testing! It doesn’t matter how big or small your budget is, you can use these advertising tips to create a plan and finish (or start) strong.

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke B. Sellas is the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media, an award-winning done-for-you social media management, and advertising agency. In 2018, she was named a Top 25 Brand Builder & Woman Entrepreneur in New Jersey. She’s also a blossoming blogger and a purveyor of psychographics. Brooke’s marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter!

Illustration courtesy Unsplash.com

 

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